Monday, April 30, 2012

Painting children

I think the name of this little girl is Alma, she was dancing and singing and jumping around at our gardens a week ago and I finally got her to pose for a few photos.  If you click on the photo and zoom in on her face and hair you will see that I used colored pencils to add the finishing touches to her hair and face.  This is because the 300# rough watercolor paper began to look mottled and bruised after a dozen or so glazes.  I will paint the next portraits on 140# paper as suggested by Paul McCormack.

There are a couple more details that I want to work on with this portrait, but it's nearly there.  I did take a few photos in the early stages, but I can't find the photos in my enormous Picasa files....if I do, I will share them later.
I am going to try repainting the portrait of my neice Keira soon, since I feel I will be able to do a much better job now that I understand more about how to mix colors for skin, especially the delicate skin of children.  Keira has the very fair skin of a redhead and the most gorgeous ice blue eyes so the nuances will have to be subtle!
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Keira the Artist (5 years in the making)

This is the thumbnail value sketch I did from half a dozen photographs. 
You will see that later I made the light shape at the top of the painting larger.  I use this loose sketch to intentionally find places to lose edges for example between her shoulder and the chair back.

This is the collage photograph that I made from the 6 reference photos I took.  I liked the left hand in one photo, the right hand in another, the face in a third and the chair and background in a couple others.  This is more of the designing phase of the painting.

I projected a few key lines and points onto my half sheet of 140# stretched Arches paper to get the scale correct, then completed the drawing using the reference photos to place the details accurately.

I masked off some hair strands and a few details in her shoes before laying in the first washes.  I painted the main portion of her hair wet in wet as suggested by Paul W. McCormack in this amazing article on how to paint luminous portraits.  I took these photos of our granddaughter Keira more than 5 years ago and was never happy with my ability to paint life like skin.  Paul's step by step process finally helped me crack the code of how to proceed with confidence from start to finish.

Here is the completed painting (sorry it's crooked, I will take better photos later) I will live with it a while to see if I want to darken her pants or lighten some more of the middle background.   For now though, it's finished.

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